Nehemiah 8:1-8

Timothy wrote that scripture is useful to train us for holy living (2 Tim. 3:16). But to receive God’s instruction, we must learn how to hear Him speak through His Word.

The Israelites who helped rebuild Jerusalem under Nehemiah’s leadership were good listeners. After working together to restore the city wall, they asked Ezra the scribe to read to them from the scrolls containing God’s laws. Eager to hear from the Lord, they left their homes, work, and activities to gather and listen to scripture.

The reading lasted several hours, during which time the people were attentive to the scribe’s words. They were focused on understanding what had been recorded in the law of Moses. Most of the Israelites standing in the square had spent their lives in Babylonian captivity. Aramaic was the language they spoke; however, the scrolls were written in Hebrew, so the priest translated and helped them understand the meaning. But in spite of this language barrier, the people listened expectantly to Ezra. They had come together, intent on learning about God’s character and determined to follow His plan.

As Ezra praised the Lord, the peoples’ hearts were stirred, and they worshiped. Thanksgiving and humility prepared them to receive from God. They bowed in gratitude for the privilege of hearing the scriptures.

We need to understand what pleases the Lord so we can obey His plan. That means we must be good listeners. Ask God to help you develop greater humility, attentiveness, gratitude, and zeal for Him.